NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The state of New Mexico leads the nation in alcohol-related deaths and while in the last session, some lawmakers tried to reduce drinking by raising the tax on liquor, they came up short. In 2021, 2,274 New Mexicans died alcohol-related deaths from falls to liver disease to drunk driving. “Police even say there’s hardly anything they don’t come across that isn’t alcohol-related. It’s not just DWI, but homicides and suicide, and domestic violence, and sexual assaults,” said Democratic Representative Joanne Ferrary of Las Cruces.

Rep. Joanne Ferrary sponsored a bill that would have raised the tax by 25 cents for every glass of beer, wine, or shot of spirits. By the time her bill made its way through committees, the number was reduced to barely a penny per drink.

She says spending by the alcohol lobby helped sink the bill. “Very disappointed, and even more motivated to work this next interim on making sure our legislators don’t listen to the lobbyists that are very powerful,” said Rep. Ferrary.

The current tax on alcohol hasn’t been raised in 30 years. Lawmakers, including Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, did manage to set that money aside in a fund aimed at programs for prevention and treatment.